World War I -- Life Histories/Section 018/Edwin Bjorkman

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Björkman Edwin August LoC 7a13808 150px

Overview[edit]

Edwin Bjorkman was a Swedish-American novelist, poet, literary critic and essayist. He was born in 1866 and died in 1951. During World War I he served as a diplomat to Sweden.

Biography[edit]

Birth and Career as a writer[edit]

Born in Stockholm, Sweden to August and Johnanna Bjorkman, Edwin Bjorkman received his degree from South-End Higher Latin School of Stockholm and started the Swedish Wholesale Clerks’ Association before immigrating to the United States in 1891[1]. During his first years in America, he worked as an editor first for a Swedish language newspaper in Chicago, followed by a Scandinavian newspaper in Minnesota. By 1897, Bjorkman had secured a position as a reporter for the New York Sun.

Bjorkman was well known for his novels, essays, poetry, and literary criticism, including Is there Anything new under the Sun (1911), Gleams: A Fragmentary Interpretation of Man and His World (1912), Voices of Tomorrow (1913), and Scandinavia and the War (1914). Common themes in his writing were the individual, collective freedom, civil rights, and the advancement of civilization[2]. His writing on the war was useful because of his insight into European affairs as a Swede[3].

Diplomacy in World War I[edit]

During WWI, Bjorkman served as the Director of the Scandinavian Bureau of the American Committee on Public Information from 1918-19[4] The American Committee on Public Information, also known as the CPI, was an organization created by Woodrow Wilson during WWI. The CPI produced pro-Ally propaganda and censored information about the war to enforce pro-American views[5].

The Scandinavian Bureau shared information about America’s action in WWI with Scandinavian countries. They also helped American immigrants to integrate into American society by teaching them about the culture and customs in addition to informing them about American action in the war[6]. In the archives entitled, the Edwin Bjorkman Papers kept in the Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, there are examples of Bjorkman’s interactions with American and European government figures while he was director. One example is a letter to Bjorkman from George Creel, the U.S. Secretary of State at the time discussing Bjorkman’s responsibility to inform immigrants of the U.S. cause in the war:

“I feel that I have given you a very complete understanding of our desires in the the matter of rallying the Swedish people in the United States to the cause in which we all believe, and you are to use this letter as your authority in approach to any group or individual[7]."

Life After the War[edit]

After the war, Bjorkman moved to Waynesville, N.C. where he worked among other things as the literary editor of the Asheville Times and the U.S. Geological Bureau (1926-1929). There he directed the North Carolina Federal Writers Project of the WPA from 1935 to 1941[8].

Social Issues[edit]

Swedish-American Immigrants:[edit]

Reasons For Emigration[edit]

In the 19th and 20th centuries over 1.3 million Swedes emigrated to the United States. At the start of the Swedish emigration movement to America, Sweden was in economic depression. As a result, lower class Swedes sought out a better life and job in the United States. Some Swedes also saw the it as a place where they could act on their republican ideals without the oppression of the Swedish Lutheran Sate Church[9].

Swedish Settlements[edit]

The majority of Swedes lived in Swedish communities or settlements in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin because of the cheap, fertile land they found there. Most worked as farmers or in mechanical industries and factories in cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis. Swedes were welcomed more by Americans than any other immigrant group because they most easily integrated into American society. Americans liked that they worked hard and did not try to introduce communism or socialism. In 1869, there were over 800,000 Swedish-Americans in the United States[10].

Swedish Position in the War[edit]

Swedish History of Neutrality[edit]

Sweden adopted a foreign policy of neutrality in 1812 and entered World War I having been a neutral country for forty years. Despite this, Swedes were split into two main groups politically during the conflicts; the conservatives who sympathized with Germany and held the support of Queen Victoria, and the Liberals who leaned more towards supporting the Allies.

Swedish Iron Ore[edit]

Germany sought alliance with Sweden for its resource of Iron. Iron ore mined in Sweden was richer in metal than German ore. For every ton of Swedish ore, Germany would have had to mine more than two tons of the ore on their own soil. Additionally, the process that Germany used to make their weapons relied on the percent of phosphorus in Swedish ores. Sweden supplied the majority of Germany’s iron ore throughout the war, which caused tension in their relationship with the Allies[11].

British Blockade on Sweden[edit]

In response to Swedish trade with Germany, Great Britain put a blockade on Swedish exports to Germany claiming that their actions were not neutral and favored Germany. Great Britain’s actions partly instigated a short economic depression and a food shortage throughout Sweden. The Allied blockade was harmful to the already fragile alliance with Sweden, but Sweden remained neutral throughout the war[12].

References:[edit]

Bjorkman, Edwin. Sweden's Position in the War . 2013. J. Fred MacDonald. 28 February 2015 <http://jfredmacdonald.com/worldwarone1914-1918/denmark-18swedens-position.html >.

—. "What is the Matter With Sweden? ." Everybody's Magazine November 1917: 42-46.

Creel, George. Complete Report of the American Committee on Public Information . American Committee on Public Information . New York, 1919.

Delwiche, Aaron. War Propaganda- World War I The Committee on Public Information . 28 February 2011. 18 March 2015 <http://www.propagandacritic.com/articles/about.html>.

Edwin Bjorkman Papers. UNC University Libraries. 28 February 2015 <http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/b/Bjorkman,Edwin_A.html#d1e85>.

Edwin Bjorkman Papers, 1855- 1954. University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll. 3 March 2015 <http://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/25255408 >.

Glynn, Irial. Emigration Across the Atlantic: Irish, Italians and Swedes compared, 1800–1950. 6 June 2011. 22 March 2015 <http://ieg-ego.eu/en/threads/europe-on-the-road/economic-migration/irial-glynn-emigration-across-the-atlantic-irish-italians-and-swedes-compared-1800-1950>.

Harvard College (1780-). Class of 1900. Secretary's Fifth Report . Norwood: Plimpton Press, 1921.

Series 1.1. Professional Correspondence. Folder 18-19. Committee on Public Information, George Creel, in the Edwin Bjorkman Papers, #3070, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Bjorkman, Edwin. Sweden's Position in the War . 2013. J. Fred MacDonald. 28 February 2015 <http://jfredmacdonald.com/worldwarone1914-1918/denmark-18swedens-position.html >. —. "What is the Matter With Sweden? ." Everybody's Magazine November 1917: 42-46. Creel, George. Complete Report of the American Committee on Public Information . American Committee on Public Information . New York, 1919. Delwiche, Aaron. War Propaganda- World War I The Committee on Public Information . 28 February 2011. 18 March 2015 <http://www.propagandacritic.com/articles/about.html>. Edwin Bjorkman Papers. UNC University Libraries. 28 February 2015 <http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/b/Bjorkman,Edwin_A.html#d1e85>. Edwin Bjorkman Papers, 1855- 1954. University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll. 21 February 2015 <http://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/25255408 >. Glynn, Irial. Emigration Across the Atlantic: Irish, Italians and Swedes compared, 1800–1950. 6 June 2011. 22 March 2015 <http://ieg-ego.eu/en/threads/europe-on-the-road/economic-migration/irial-glynn-emigration-across-the-atlantic-irish-italians-and-swedes-compared-1800-1950>. Harvard College (1780-). Class of 1900. Secretary's Fifth Report . Norwood: Plimpton Press, 1921. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data. "Dictionary of North Carolina Biography." Ed. William S. Powell. Vols. Volume 2 D-G. Th University of North Carolina Press , n.d. Marcus B. Simpson, Jr. Bjorkman, Edwin August. 1979. State Library of North Carolina , et al. 28 February 2015 <http://ncpedia.org/biography/bj%C3%B6rkman-edwin-august>.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data. "Dictionary of North Carolina Biography." Ed. William S. Powell. Vols. Volume 2 D-G. Th University of North Carolina Press , n.d.

Marcus B. Simpson, Jr. Bjorkman, Edwin August. 1979. State Library of North Carolina , et al. 28 February 2015 <http://ncpedia.org/biography/bj%C3%B6rkman-edwin-august>.

Bjorkman, Edwin. Sweden's Position in the War . 2013. J. Fred MacDonald. 28 February 2015 <http://jfredmacdonald.com/worldwarone1914-1918/denmark-18swedens-position.html >. —. "What is the Matter With Sweden? ." Everybody's Magazine November 1917: 42-46. Creel, George. Complete Report of the American Committee on Public Information . American Committee on Public Information . New York, 1919. Delwiche, Aaron. War Propaganda- World War I The Committee on Public Information . 28 February 2011. 18 March 2015 <http://www.propagandacritic.com/articles/about.html>. Edwin Bjorkman Papers. UNC University Libraries. 28 February 2015 <http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/b/Bjorkman,Edwin_A.html#d1e85>. Edwin Bjorkman Papers, 1855- 1954. University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll. 21 February 2015 <http://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/25255408 >. Glynn, Irial. Emigration Across the Atlantic: Irish, Italians and Swedes compared, 1800–1950. 6 June 2011. 22 March 2015 <http://ieg-ego.eu/en/threads/europe-on-the-road/economic-migration/irial-glynn-emigration-across-the-atlantic-irish-italians-and-swedes-compared-1800-1950>. Harvard College (1780-). Class of 1900. Secretary's Fifth Report . Norwood: Plimpton Press, 1921. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data. "Dictionary of North Carolina Biography." Ed. William S. Powell. Vols. Volume 2 D-G. Th University of North Carolina Press , n.d. Marcus B. Simpson, Jr. Bjorkman, Edwin August. 1979. State Library of North Carolina , et al. 28 February 2015 <http://ncpedia.org/biography/bj%C3%B6rkman-edwin-august>.

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center . Swedish Immigration to North America. Augustana College. 22 March 2015 <http://www.augustana.edu/general-information/swenson-center-/swedish-american-immigration-history>.

  1. Marcus B. Simpson, Jr. Bjorkman, Edwin August. 1979. State Library of North Carolina , et al. 28 February 2015 <http://ncpedia.org/biography/bj%C3%B6rkman-edwin-august>.
  2. Marcus B. Simpson, Jr. Bjorkman, Edwin August. 1979. State Library of North Carolina , et al. 28 February 2015 <http://ncpedia.org/biography/bj%C3%B6rkman-edwin-august>.
  3. Bjorkman, Edwin. Sweden's Position in the War . 2013. J. Fred MacDonald. 28 February 2015 <http://jfredmacdonald.com/worldwarone1914-1918/denmark-18swedens-position.html >.
  4. Creel, George. Complete Report of the American Committee on Public Information . American Committee on Public Information . New York, 1919.
  5. Delwiche, Aaron. War Propaganda- World War I The Committee on Public Information . 28 February 2011. 18 March 2015 <http://www.propagandacritic.com/articles/about.html>.
  6. Harvard College (1780-). Class of 1900. Secretary's Fifth Report . Norwood: Plimpton Press, 1921.
  7. Series 1.1. Professional Correspondence. Folder 18-19. Committee on Public Information, George Creel, in the Edwin Bjorkman Papers, #3070, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  8. Edwin Bjorkman Papers. UNC University Libraries. 28 February 2015 <http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/b/Bjorkman,Edwin_A.html#d1e85>.
  9. Glynn, Irial. Emigration Across the Atlantic: Irish, Italians and Swedes compared, 1800–1950. 6 June 2011. 22 March 2015 <http://ieg-ego.eu/en/threads/europe-on-the-road/economic-migration/irial-glynn-emigration-across-the-atlantic-irish-italians-and-swedes-compared-1800-1950>.
  10. Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center . Swedish Immigration to North America. Augustana College. 22 March 2015 <http://www.augustana.edu/general-information/swenson-center-/swedish-american-immigration-history>.
  11. —. "What is the Matter With Sweden? ." Everybody's Magazine November 1917: 42-46.
  12. Bjorkman, Edwin. Sweden's Position in the War . 2013. J. Fred MacDonald. 28 February 2015 <http://jfredmacdonald.com/worldwarone1914-1918/denmark-18swedens-position.html >.